When Alejandra closed her eyes, it was like a horror movie stuck on repeat.
She is eight-years-old. She is in her native Mexico. Gun shots ring out and her beloved father dies.
Over twenty years later, she is still haunted by these events and this pain is manifesting in a myriad of ways ranging from severe depression, insomnia, headaches, epilepsy-like attacks and constant flashbacks to her father’s death.
Referred to Community Partners by HomeSafe, Alejandra started meeting with therapist Larissa.
As the mother of a 20-month-old girl, play therapy featured heavily in Alejandra’s treatment. Little Leti gurgled and cooed in the sandbox while Alejandra and Larissa met and eventually, Larissa incorporated the sandbox into the therapy session – all three of them playing together and building castles.
Using empathy and an understanding of Alejandra’s culture as a way of furthering therapy, Larissa had her client write a letter to her deceased father as a way of gaining closure.
“She wrote a letter and then, we burned it so her father could read the letter wherever he is,” Larissa explains.
Months after starting therapy, Alejandra is doing much better.
“I’m not scared anymore,” she said. “My therapy helped me let go of my past and honor my father for good.”
Larissa beams with pride at the progress her client as made and is thrilled that she has almost ‘graduated.’
“Alejandra’s good prognosis is due to her own efforts,” she said. “Her desire to make a long-lasting change gave her peace, understanding and acceptance of her life circumstances.”